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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at www.spouseaggro.com, write for www.ablegamers.com, run www.mmovoices.ning.com and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

The "AAA' game is a lie.

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday October 7 2009 at 4:15PM
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I have a good friend, Cindy, and she likes Aion. I played with her one night in Beta, and played a few other nights in the beta. Even though it was just beta, and I forgave the few issues, the game just isn't my cup of tea. I have another friend that plays in LotRO every night. While I enjoy the game, it is by far not one of my favorites.

Does this mean that something is wrong with me? Something might be off with my tastes? No, not at all. This means that I am a normal, healthy gamer.

But I hear so much talk about the "AAA" games that for a while I thought that I must be mad to consider some "non-AAA" games better than most "AAA" games. But what does "AAA" mean? To get a definition, I guess I'll get to Google. Good ole' Google.

(Looks for a few minutes. Stops after realizing that there are 5 billion definitions for the word, just like he thought.)

aaa

See, many popular words that are thrown around in gaming are defined by the individual. There are general definitions, though. In example, I asked one of my friends to stop using the word "retarded" because it was offensive when he used it to mean "people that suck." Retarded people do not suck just because they are retarded. Retarded people, just like non-retarded people, have different levels of suckage. His general use of the word "retarded" to mean "people that can't play games" was, in a word, stupid. He said he meant the literal meaning of the word, the one that means a "slow person."

If he expects me to believe that, while in the heat of a raid he screams out "...You RETARD!.." that he meant "...You are slow to respond, sir..." then he must think that I am stupid.

It's the same with "AAA". There are literal meanings for it, but in MMORPG's, it is simply referring to the largest games with the most success and the biggest budgets. But, that definition doesn't even fit most games. That fits World of Warcraft. WoW is the largest subscriber-based game out there. While there are many games that make WoW's 11 million players look like chop suey, that's 11 million people paying every month. So, does the profit equal success? ONE type of success, sure. How about critical success? How about a game with more players? Maple Story has somewhere around 10's upon 10's of millions more players than WoW. Would they play if it were not free? I don't know. Would they play it is was not FUN?

So why do people throw around "AAA" for games like LotRO, or for CoH, when there are F2P games not only making more money, but also holding onto to MILLIONS more players than those titles? Yet, those F2P titles are not considered "AAA"? Tell that to Nexon's accountant.

Could "AAA" be referring to the players experience? I think so, in most ways. When people say "..it was a AAA game.." they probably mean that the experience was more shiny, polished, finished, full...you know, a nice well rounded experience that worked and worked well. Again, it's more opinion that describes more games that are not considered a "AAA" experience.  Also, that's like saying "good art." There is no such thing as "good art." There is just art, but saying that a work is good or bad (do I really need to say this?) depends completely upon the viewer. I will promise you that if I had all the magic power in the world and could magically show you what every single person thought of the greatest works of art in the world, there would be plenty that considered those masterpieces to be total wastes of space. So, who is right?

"AAA" should just be considered a general term, like "cool" or "neat." Just saying those words means "..in my opinion." It is a given that the person using those words is giving you their side of the story, but since they are talking about something as light as entertainment, they do not need to give you more details.

Bob: "How was that band last night?"

Steve: "They were cool."

Bob: "OK, I'll go check 'em out. What'll it hurt?"

So let's not use "AAA" to mean anything deeper. "AAA" has no literal measure or quantity. It is not talking about budgets or number of players, or even profit alone, so it cannot cover all games out there to it's candle of success. There are games that cost near nothing that make millions, and games that cost millions that are now gone forever. There are games like WoW that have millions of players, yet players like me think that the game is fun but only has the depth of many basic MMOs. My gut feeling is that players use the term "AAA" to describe some kind of hopeful wish, as in "This new game looks "AAA", it will be the WoW Killer" without knowing what a WoW Killer would even look like, play like, or be like; as though being the biggest game out there is somehow the only measure of quality.

Maybe that's it? Maybe "AAA" has become the new term for the burnt out gamer, the player that grows tired of games as soon as the first ding hits. Maybe "AAA" is something they are looking for, a badge they hang on a figment of their imagination? Perhaps it is just a set of three letters, that mean absolutely nothing, unless framed within a very specific conversation, like "biggest player-base" or "most profit"?  Whatever it means, I never use it. I think that it's about as silly as saying "..that guy is retarded for liking bad art."

Beau

MadnessRealm writes:

When I look at an the MMORPG.com community and see all those "AAA" stuff, I really don't understand it. It's like they are confusing their opinion and when many gamers have the same opinion, the game seems to turn into an AAA title.

Did it really become the "new term or expression"? People seem to use the "It's not an AAA title" argument a lot more when they are bashing a game rather than promoting a game by saying it's an AAA game.  Like if the expression was used to describe "what's not good" rather than what is good. I've seen a few gamers talking about AAA games but it seemed as if a certain majority on those threads agreed to it. Then again, it's a matter of opinion and many would rather avoid using the "It's an AAA game" expression so they don't get attacked by trolls or "fanboi of real AAA titles"

I personally don't see any point in using that expression to describe a game. Probably because I don't confuse my opinion as an absolute truth when it might not reflect the opinions of other gamers.

-----
Let's just stick with the "It's a good game because..." and "It's a bad game because..." ok everyone? :) And no trolling!

Wed Oct 07 2009 5:01PM Report
Death1942 writes:

when i hear of a 'AAA' title then i assume it's from a well established and well funded company...that is it.  I don't instaly assume it will be better or worse than any other MMO.

Wed Oct 07 2009 6:59PM Report
Fumbles writes:

Yeah I pretty much agree with Death, triple A to me just means it is well funded and not developed in some guys basement. Tabula Rasa was a AAA game even though it was unable to have a sufficient following to endure.

Thu Oct 08 2009 7:46AM Report
Kryalis writes:

Yeah the term AAA was long applied to computer games themselves far before just MMO's and explicitly refer's to the game's budget. It was used to define the much wider gap between a "B" grade product (that might cost $10,000 to develop) and a "AAA" game that costs $N Million.

The actual gap these days is wider than ever, as high end graphics are extremely expensive to produce.

While it would be nice to think people spending tons more cash makes it a "better" game or a contender for best in genre etc. we all know that isn't true. And there's many an indie game i've enjoyed more than AAA titles.

Thu Oct 08 2009 10:27AM Report
JamesTaylor writes: AAA means hight quality of anything. You can also wiki it. AAA is for me a term that means honor for game and I think that its good term but it should be given only to few games. I googled AAA mmorpg and it found som F2P bul**it copies of Lineage II from Asia. Thous games can never will be AAA and I dont know how anybody can say that. I also think that from Lineage is no good Asian game and I hate that everywhere I look I see a f**ing manga style. they copy Lineage like every day new 4story... Just look at the list of mmo at mmorpg.com... 2/3 are manga asian Lineage like games. Why is that??? I also played Aion and IT IS the same. For me is AAA World of Warcraft, now starting APB as a something new... Than I like Age of Conan of combat system and atmosphere. also EVE and STO Its AAA for me and manga style is AAA only Lineage II it was first of its grade. Non of F2P are AAA for me. But not I and not you can tell what is and what is not AAA globaly. I only say that AAA mark should be symbol only of few games (not only mmo). But i only wanted to say that this topic is only literally offensive which have no point because all you know what means AAA... AAA is no lie but every game use it so its lossing its value. Mon Jul 12 2010 5:03PM Report
JamesTaylor writes: And why is more peple on F2P games??? Because they are free not because they are better.. Mon Jul 12 2010 5:18PM Report

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